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September 2, 2020
Robert Cooper brought U.K.-based Wildix to the United States. Now he is focused on creating value for Wildix partners.
Cooper joined Wildix in 2016. He established its U.S. office, and served as U.S. country manager and executive vice president.
Wildix’s Robert Cooper
Then, in 2018, he became managing director for Wildix North America. He now manages an international team responsible for all of Wildix‘s operations in the Americas.
Cooper has extensive experience in bringing new concepts to market through the channel. He also knows how new market models and technologies impact the channel today.
Those are the things distributors, master agents and industry analysts are saying about him. We solicited input from these industry players to compile our Top Gun 51 for 2020. That’s because they know channel executives best.
Introduced last year, the Top Gun 51 recognizes premier leaders in the indirect IT and telecom channel. The criteria includes advocacy for the channel and commitment to partners’ business success. There’s also dedication to earning the channel’s trust.
In all, Cooper has more than 30 years of experience in sales, business development and managing initiatives. Before joining Wildix, he held sales and business development roles at eZuce, Aastra and Citel. He also held top roles at Global Media Events, VTEL and Ameritech.
Wildix’s Robert Cooper is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. This program recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. So check out the full list.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Cooper talks about his experience in the channel and his work with Wildix partners. He also outlines what partners need for success.
Channel Partners: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?
Robert Cooper: No, the channel was not my original career path. I spent most of my earlier career selling services directly to enterprises and carriers. But when I moved to a vendor manufacturer, both distribution and the channel became integral to success.
CP: What have you learned most from your experience with the channel and partners?
RC: They pride themselves on the services they deliver. Many of them use terminology like “white glove” and “top line.” That’s because the service they provide to their customers is the most significant component. They care for their customers.
CP: So, what are the components of a successful channel program?
RC: In my experience, I’ve seen lots of things that work and lots that haven’t. Transparency, a direct business relationship, and meaningful and manageable shared expectations are significant components.
CP: Are there things that used to work, but now don’t?
RC: It’s registering deals, opportunities, negotiation for additional margin to win a deal [and] competing with your vendor. Those are all things that don’t work. I’m not sure these things were ever beneficial. And in today’s times, they have really become an archaic way of managing the channel.
CP: What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in working with the channel?
RC: Building strong and profitable business relationships with partners and carriers alike.
CP: What are your career goals going forward?
RC: My career goal is to really highlight the value and opportunity that Wildix represents to partners in the Americas. I really want to establish Wildix as the true differentiated vendor for the channel.
CP: Finally, what advice would you give someone just starting out in channel leadership?
RC: Do not lean on yesterday. You hear a lot about, “This is the way we used to do it.” You have to understand the trends in the market, understand the impact to the partner, and build value.
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